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Calls grow for Ramaphosa to appear before Zondo commission

President Cyril Ramaphosa File picture: Jairus Mmutle/GCIS

President Cyril Ramaphosa File picture: Jairus Mmutle/GCIS

Published Jan 18, 2021


After former Eskom chief executive Brian Molefe's testimony at the Zondo commission on Friday, there have been growing calls for President Cyril Ramaphosa to appear before the commission.

The Pan-Africanist Congress of Azania (PAC) has become the latest political party to call on Ramaphosa to avail himself for grilling.

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Molefe shocked many when he laid the blame for some of the failures of Eskom at Ramaphosa's door. He accused the president of being conflicted when he was appointed to head up Eskom war-room strategy which was supposed to turn around the struggling state owned entity.

Molefe said Ramaphosa was a chairperson of Optimum Coal Mine, which was owned by Glencore, in 2012; where he also held a shareholding of 9.64%.

Molefe said Glencore sought to renegotiate the contract it had with the power utility which would have seen it pay more than R150 for coal and also dismiss the penalties set by the entity.

Molefe said Ramaphosa was conflicted.

The PAC says these allegations against Ramaphosa need to be answered and that he should urgently appear before the commission.

"The PAC calls on the Zondo Commission to request the audience of President Ramaphosa and all the directors of the firms Glencore and Optimum to testify, in order to be provided with an opportunity to put forward their side of the story.

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’’The allegations made by Molefe are certainly damning. He offered a different narrative to the notion that state capture occurred purely via the Gupta empire," the PAC NEC (national executive committee) said.

"These allegations are very serious and cannot be left unverified. PAC believes that the Zondo Commission’s own credibility depends on probing these allegations and getting all the directors of Glencore/Optimum – and the rest of the companies that had enjoyed an oligopoly providing coal to Eskom – with contracts negotiated 40 years ago."

Trade union federation Saftu has also called for Ramaphosa and Glencore's executives to appear before the inquiry.

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The federation said the allegations by Molefe show that state capture was not only conducted by the Guptas.

Political analyst Ralph Mathekga said it was crucial for Ramaphosa to appear before the commission.

"There are those who are challenging the commission's legitimacy and if the president (Ramaphosa) does not appear it almost gives them ammunition to challenge the commission's legitimacy to say that it is not interested in a wider inquiry and is rather interested in a pre-formulated conclusion.

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"In all of this, Jacob Zuma was the president and those saying that he should appear, should arrive at the same conclusion that says Ramaphosa should appear because he was also in charge of government business," Mathekga said

The spokesperson of the commission, Reverend Mbuyiselo Stemela, did not respond when asked when Ramaphosa would be summoned to appear before it.

Political Bureau

Related Topics:

Cyril Ramaphosa